I have thought about little else since it happened. The whole scene replays itself on a grueling slow-motion loop in my head. From beginning to end I’ve relived the misery of it, rehearsing my own disturbing reaction again and again, ad nausea. I have debated, which is worse, my righteous anger directed at God for allowing this, or the stranger’s unfettered rage taken out on my family. The bitter truth is that sin is sin, and in the end, I owe my own confession.
After being run off the road and assaulted verbally, fully intimidated by a complete stranger–who seemed in those heated moments, capable of worse than attempting to cause an accident, it is my own responsive rage that unnerves me.
But for the grace of God pinning me to my seat, I don’t know what kind of retaliation I had within me. In hindsight, I am deeply grateful for the paralyzing power of the Holy Spirit, without which the whole terrifying scene could have ended in hospital rooms, jail cells–or worse.
I’ve tried to understand what possesses some people to behave in such a way as this stranger did. But I find I cannot question his actions without facing my own internal reaction. It was as if a wild animal rattled around behind the bars of my rib cage, scratching and clawing to be unleashed. In my fury I hurled accusations at God, questioning His sovereignty and His love and protection. With each condemning thought I felt the weight of my stone heart hardening within.
Why have you forsaken me?
I ask this of God, and He echoes this very question back to me.
In a stunning display of faithlessness, I imagine that God had changed the channel. That he had grown weary of my reality, and He was now rather more interested in the events unfolding on Sarah or Matt’s channel. Worse than this ridiculously unbiblical yarn of thought is that there’s no basis for it whatsoever, not biblically, nor experientially.
On the heels of a season where God so clearly and overtly demonstrated His rapt attention to both the substantial and minute details of my every moment, I am appalled at how a sudden interruption to my otherwise easy existence has the unmitigated ability to project me into a spiraling black hole of doubt and accusation.
I am the chief of sinners.
The saga runs long enough as we wait for the police that I manage to experience the fall, the conviction, confession, repentance and resurrection in just over an hour.
The honest reality is, this isn’t the first time I’ve doubted God’s faithfulness. I’ve long been aware of my Thomas-like tendencies, and so it is probable this won’t be the last time either.
God didn’t step out of the room for another glass of water. Nor is He some slouchy couch potato reclining in the heavens, observing His creation with an edge of disdain or even distraction. Unlike me, He is fully engaged in every life, everywhere, all at once. We were not forsaken or abandoned on the edge of the freeway, as a madman hurled a steady black stream of profanity in our faces. Truly, God was with us; I know it because that is what He promises.
I have a God who guides me over the most formidable peaks and into the most tranquil valleys. Spiritual Misfit, Michelle Derusha
Beyond the smashed up front of my fairly new vehicle, I am most disappointed that my initial reaction was as familiar as Eve’s in the garden. I am appalled at how quickly I jumped at God, unleashing my own string of profane accusations and judgments. I thought I knew better. I believed my theology was stronger than that. I never like being accosted by my frail humanity. My unrelenting battle with pride too often allows me to live under the false belief that I am better than that–or maybe, simply, better than.
I’ve rehashed the event a thousand times in 3 days. In the end I find no more answers and only more questions of myself.
I also find grace.
I find forgiveness, for Christ’s sake, under which I begin again.